Two years ago, a Congress bitterly divided along party lines passed the landmark Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act. The sweeping health reform overhaul bill, weighing in at roughly 2,000 pages, touched off a sustained national debate over the government's role in health care cost and delivery, whether individuals should be required to purchase insurance coverage and the potential impact on and cost to American businesses.
Later this month, the controversy lands on the doorstep of the U.S. Supreme Court, with the justices scheduled to hear arguments on the legality of the individual mandate and other aspects of the bill — or decide whether any adjudication of the law is premature, since the mandate doesn't take effect until 2014.
Epstein Becker Green's Valiant notes that "even though much of the health reform law doesn't go into effect until 2014, there is considerable ramp up happening now to make the 2014 start date possible."
"Although 2014 sounds like a long way away, the timeline is tight — the Court decision won't be issued until mid-2012, but states forming exchanges need to be done by 2013 and payers will have to have their products on the market well before the end of 2013, to begin coverage in 2014," Valiant says.